Music & the Spoken Word: This wonderful world

‘Why does nature influence us so deeply? Perhaps because connecting with creation also connects us with the Creator,’ Lloyd Newell observes in this week’s ‘Music & the Spoken Word’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was recorded in Mexico City, Mexico, in June 2023. This will be given Sunday, July 17, 2023.

We feel better when we spend time outside. Most of us know this by experience, and research backs it up. Spending time in nature has been shown to help reduce stress, clarify thoughts, and improve our well-being. (see “Why Living Near Greenery Helps Us Think Better,” by Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today, April 27, 2022, A walk in the woods, a morning in the garden, a visit to the seashore can both calm and enliven our senses.

Of course, you don’t have to live near a forest or beach to receive the benefits of nature. Many cities set aside green spaces, like this one in Coyoacán Park in Mexico City. When we’re surrounded by cement and pavement, our souls long for the natural world. We smile when we hear a bird’s song. We slow down when we catch the fragrance of a fresh blossom. We pause and whisper when we see a squirrel.

Nature has that effect on our senses — it helps us see, feel, and think more clearly, and as a result, we make better decisions. In fact, studies have shown that cities with green spaces tend to have less violent crime (see “Can Green Spaces Reduce Violence?,” by Katherine Cullen, Psychology Today, Sept. 23, 2021, After connecting with nature, we often find greater self-control, even in tense moments.

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During an especially stressful time at work, one woman decided to walk through a nearby park each day during lunch. Something about the soft breeze, the fresh air and the vibrant green leaves helped reset her thoughts. The problems didn’t go away, but she felt able to face them with a revived sense of peace and perspective.

Why does nature influence us so deeply? Perhaps because connecting with creation also connects us with the Creator. An ancient prophet observed, “The earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, … witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). And the psalmist declared, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5). Ultimately, nature directs our gaze heavenward, to God.

So the next time life feels heavy, confusing or overwhelming, try spending some time among God’s creations. Notice how much closer you feel to Him. You may discover how much He wants you to feel His love through the wonder and beauty of His wonderful world.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL News Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM (Ch. 143),, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time on these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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